May 18, 2024

Wolfgang Stumpf, Weingarten’s deputy district commander, will retire this summer after more than 44 years as a police officer. However, he and his dog Roxy refuse to give up searching for the missing person. Search missions are extremely arduous for human detection dogs. This is because dogs have to track very specific scents. That odor often takes hours to dissipate by the time it is deployed.

Roxy has loved searching since she was a puppy.

For Chief Inspector Wolfgang Stumpf, one thing is clear: after such a long working life and regular routine, people need a mission. He has already prepared some of them. He wants to take better care of his two dogs as well as his property and garden. The 62-year-old is about to give birth to his third grandchild.

Even when she was little, she searched well.

wolfgang stumpf

It is also important for him to continue his training in searching for missing persons at the Technical Rescue Agency (THW) in Friedrichshafen. He has lived here since his black German shepherd, 6-year-old Roxy, was a puppy. “She was a good searcher from an early age. Through her son, we were able to train her to be a mantrailer,” Stumpf says. Mantrailer means human detection dog in English.

For Roxy, training two days a week is a competition. She knows that if she succeeds, she will receive her favorite foods and rewards. Every time a THW member is hiding somewhere. Roxy can sniff out members’ scents through their belongings, such as key chains and hair ties. Then she goes looking.

The smell takes hours to disappear

However, this is only valid for partners and masters. Stumpf: “We have to form a unit and trust each other. Each dog has a different behavior pattern and we need to know that. The training lasts three years and the behavioral tests must be repeated every two years.”

The problem is easiest if the missing person is walking alone through the meadow into the forest. In that case, there is nothing to distract you from the smell. But as a rule, the missing person has passed on the street, perhaps went to another house, or even driven a little in the car.

Wolfgang Stumpf and Roxy can be requested at any time of the day or night.

Wolfgang Stumpf and Roxy can be requested at any time of the day or night. (photograph: THW Friedrichshafen)

This is a very taxing task for the dog. Additionally, man trailers are usually only called several hours after the person goes missing. Relatives usually search first, followed by police, who then use human-sniffing dogs once the smell has dissipated for several hours. If it’s still rainy or windy, finding the truck will be twice as difficult. “So the success rate is only about 10 percent,” Stumpf says.

However, Wolfgang Stumpf and Roxy have already been there on 30 missions and the THW team has found missing persons four times. After about 30 minutes of sniffing and searching, your dog will need a break. This is because the dog requires a lot of effort. During the search, the body temperature increases by 1-2 degrees. Then another mantrailer takes over.

Video: Stefanie Rebhan, THW Friedrichshafen

Unlimited excitement from work

In his daily work as a police officer, Wolfgang Stumpf often had to deal with missing persons. In his work, there were many things that left an impression on him, and there were many works that remained in his heart. “This includes fatal accidents and the death of a child who had to be taken care of by his relatives,” he gives examples. But positive events also remained in his memory, even if it was just “Grandma, who you helped, and was as happy as the Snow King.”

The Mainz native completed his basic training in Biberach before making a detour to Stuttgart, before taking his first job at Weingarten from 1987 to 1999. After that, he studied in Villingen-Schwenningen and the motorway. Kissleg police. He returned to Weingarten in 2007 after he worked for a while at the Ravensburg Police Department. He has been on patrol for a total of 28 years and has always been in close proximity to officers.

Clearly marked as the men and dogs on duty at all times, the team sets out on a mission.

Clearly marked as the men and dogs on duty at all times, the team sets out on a mission. (photograph: THW Friedrichshafen)

Veteran leaves police force

Ravensburg Police Chief Uwe Sturmer said Stumpf was highly regarded both as an officer and as a supervisor of patrols and investigations. “His work is characterized by poise, experience and thoughtfulness,” Starmer says. When necessary, he took a firm stance against trouble-making citizens and responded with impressive responses.

People, including the public and uniformed officials, have always been important to him. Uwe Sturmer: “Together with Wolfgang Stumpf, a true military veteran will be leaving active police service. His post will be filled by First Chief Inspector of Police Jürgen Friedrich.” He previously served as District Services Director for the Ravensburg Police Department.

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